The findings of a large heart disease trial could transform the way coronary artery disease patients are treated. Medication and a lifestyle change can be as good as getting bypass surgery in order to prevent a stroke or heart attack, according to the new study. Researchers from NYU Grossman School of Medicine and Stanford University conducted the study.
For the study, the team examined close to 5,000 patients with heart blockages. The team discovered a stent helped improve their condition and symptoms like chest pain. However, it did not reduce the patients' risk of developing a stroke or heart attack. "The stent and bypass group may not be associated with longer life or survival. However, the group that was revascularized and got stents or bypass had a better quality of life and reduced symptoms so they may feel better," Dr Tara Narula told a news portal.
The findings show patients could have more treatment options available. "For patients with severe but stable heart disease who don’t want to undergo these invasive procedures, these results are very reassuring,” David Maron, MD, clinical professor of medicine and director of preventive cardiology at the Stanford School of Medicine, told a news portal. Adding, “The results don’t suggest they should undergo procedures in order to prevent cardiac events."
There has been very little scientific evidence to suggest that certain procedures can help prevent serious heart issues. Researchers wanted to know if medications like statins and aspirin could be a better solution for it. “If you think about it, there’s an intuitiveness that if there is blockage in an artery and evidence that that blockage is causing a problem, opening that blockage is going to make people feel better and live longer,”study co-author Robert Harrington,professor and chair of medicine at Stanford University. Adding, "But there has been no evidence that this is necessarily true. That’s why we did this study."
Researchers plan to further investigate and monitor participants for five years to better understand if medication and change in lifestyle can work. "Based on our results, we recommend that all patients take medications proven to reduce risk of heart attack, be physically active, eat a healthy diet and quit smoking,” Maron stated in a press release. Adding “Patients without angina will not see an improvement, but those with angina of any severity will tend to have a greater, lasting improvement in quality of life if they have an invasive heart procedure. They should talk with their physicians to decide whether to undergo revascularization.”
The study's findings were recently presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions conference.
Picture Courtesy: Google Images